Paula Writes

Paula Puddephatt – Author

Writers’ Block: Does It Exist? — February 9, 2019

Writers’ Block: Does It Exist?

writers-block

Is Writers’ Block real, or simply an excuse for procrastination and laziness?

Yes, Writers’ Block does exist.

That’s not the answer that you’ll find on most writing blogs, but it’s my own honest answer to the question.

However, it’s not quite as simple as deciding whether Writers’ Block does exist, or does not.

And no, I’m definitely not denying that Writers’ Block has the potential to be used by writers as an excuse to procrastinate, or even be lazy.

Side note: Those two terms are not interchangeable, as procrastination occurs for many reasons, and not all of these involve laziness. My short post about procrastination, and why writers’ often avoid actually writing, touches upon this.

Writers’ Block is not a medical condition.

In that sense, it doesn’t exist. You can’t go to a doctor, be diagnosed with Writers’ Block, and come away with a prescription to cure the affliction. But we all realise that, surely?

It can occur when we’re suffering from actual mental and physical illnesses, but I’ll expand upon that, in due course.

However, Writer’s Block, in and off itself, is not a disease.

Writer’s Block is a construct.

It’s simply a way to express the problem that most, if not all, of us face as writers, at particular times.

It describes an inability to write: not in the practical, physical sense, but due to a creative block, and the words seeming not to flow.

It could be a lack of ideas and pure inspiration, or the inability to express our ideas, but the result is not writing, when writing is what we aspire to do.

Many people don’t find the concept of Writers’ Block useful.

This is a fair point. If you feel that it doesn’t help you to move forward, and prefer not to think in terms of “being blocked”, then that’s fine. In that sense, Writers’ Block doesn’t have to exist for you.

But whether you refer to any writing struggles as Writers’ Block, or by some other name, or don’t refer to them at all, you will probably continue to experience, on occasions, the same writing issues that others choose to describe as blocks.

Writers’ Block is an umbrella term.

There are so many reasons why writers can potentially struggle to write.

These include simply feeling “out of ideas”, or overwhelmed by too many ideas, and not knowing where to start.

And, at the other end of the spectrum, there will be: burnout, clinical depression and anxiety, other mental and physical health conditions, and serious personal problems, such as financial difficulties, relationship break-ups, and bereavement.

It’s beyond the scope of this post to offer solutions to Writers’ Block, but possible solutions will become clearer, when the precise causes are identified.

For a lack of ideas and inspiration, there are many simple fixes.

For some of the more complex and severe underlying causes, these simple suggestions won’t be enough. Of course, there are often multiple factors involved, and in such cases, simple ideas may be of some use, even if they don’t solve the problem entirely.

I may well address how to find ideas, and sources of inspiration, in a future post.

Tips for increasing productivity, as a writer

 

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Mental and Physical Illness, and Being a Writer — May 5, 2018

Mental and Physical Illness, and Being a Writer

health-writers

Writing is my therapy and my passion.

I write to survive. At times, that is literally true. If it wasn’t for my writing, I truly believe that I might not be alive today.

I struggle with various mental and physical health issues.

These multiply, over the years. That’s the nature of chronic illness, unfortunately.

I have always struggled with dyspraxia, depression and anxiety, and these conditions have had a huge impact upon my life.

And writing has helped me.

It has saved me.

It has been the splash of colour on the dark canvas of my existence. And yes, life has often felt like mere existence.

It’s not a question of being unable to appreciate the beauty the surrounds me daily. In fact, I would say that the ability to value life’s seemingly most simple gifts has been greatly enhanced.

But yet, there are moments when the darkness takes over, and I wish for nothing but release from the unendurable pain.

And, even though writing has helped me, it has also been a source of stress.

I struggle with stamina, and with concentration, and find it painfully hard to complete long-term projects, such as the novel, on which I am currently – very sporadically – working.

I dislike not being able to write blog posts in one session, and run the risk of abandoning them altogether, because of this. I’m learning to return to posts, but still find it difficult psychologically.

Self-criticism is also challenging.

It’s hard not to give up, when the voices in your mind are telling you constantly how useless you are, and to delete your writing and blog, and close down all the social media accounts you’ve put so much effort into building.

And, of course, there is the external discouragement, on top of this. There are those who are supportive, but not everyone is, and many are the reverse. For me, that includes most family members, and many “friends”.

So how do I keep going?

Because I ultimately want and need to.

Because sometimes, I do receive positive feedback, that clearly comes from the heart.

Knowing and feeling that I am actually making a positive difference – that maybe someone feels less alone, after reading one of my poems, or even just being told that a writing technique, mentioned in one of my blog posts, has been useful to someone.

Encouragement like this truly can, and does, make all the difference.

And because of my characters – because they cannot exist without me and, in that way, are my children.

They are a part of me, and need me, as I do them. And that may not make sense to everyone, but to many other fiction writers, it will.

I’m going to close now, but might return to this subject, in the future. Keep believing.

And, if you’re interested in mental health, from the point of view of writing fiction, addressing these issues, my post on this subject may be of interest.  Also related is the post about my personal writing journey.

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When Life Happens, and Writing Doesn’t — January 11, 2018

When Life Happens, and Writing Doesn’t

The title says it all, about where I’m at, right now.

when-life-happens

Health issues are happening. Stressful life events are happening. Writing? It will come. Pressure from within is the last thing I need – and guilt.

Baby steps are the way forward.

Starting somewhere, as opposed to either everywhere or nowhere.

New year, new start.

It isn’t exactly working out that way. Yet, now and again, I hear my characters’ voices, letting me know that they are still there, inside my heart and mind.

As for the blogging – well, this is my second post of 2018.

Such as it is. There will be more, and they will be better.

It’s okay to struggle sometimes.

That’s what I would tell anyone else, after all. It isn’t always easy to believe in yourself and your dreams, but since when has anything worthwhile been easy, right?

Previous related posts include one about procrastination, and another about slow progress.

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Writing Dark Fiction — November 11, 2017

Writing Dark Fiction

dark-write

I wish that I could write consistently, but this isn’t possible for me, for various reasons.

Apart from anything else, there is one week in every month when I cannot write, due to the severity of my PCOS and endometriosis. I also have other restrictions, caused by my physical and mental health, and personal circumstances.

There is another reason for the slow progress on my novel, and believe me, this is frustrating – but I do have other ongoing projects, and everything ties in, anyway – so I’m not achieving as little as I myself often feel.

The other reason for my lack of progress is that I do write dark fiction.

I wrote a post some time ago, on my previous blog, regarding why I write about so-called “depressing subjects”.  Note: Updated version, on this blog, now exists, also.

I know that I can never make it “easy” for myself, because my heart is in control, and insists that I write about what really matters – that I do not ignore the darkness, but face it, head on, in my fiction. I will never churn out cutesy romance novels – and, no, I have nothing against such novels, and part of me might even envy authors who can write commercial genre fiction, that fits in and sells. It isn’t me. My plots and characters do overwhelm me, and I don’t feel able to write every day.

I’m terrified that I won’t be able to do justice to the stories that I have to tell, but I must try.

It’s my vocation, my passion – so much more than a career, which it is not, as yet – and definitely more than a hobby. Please don’t refer to anyone’s writing as a “hobby”, unless you know for a fact that the writer in question regards it as such – because it is honestly the ultimate insult, for most of us.

I feel that this was “all over the place”, but hopefully it made some sense. I wrote a short post recently, which included details of my various social media sites, and this is currently the best place to find out where I am online: my different pages and projects.

Keep believing.

Slow Progress is Still Progress — November 3, 2017

Slow Progress is Still Progress

progress-slow

My last post was about how I schedule my social media posts.

The other side of this is content creation. I mean, we need something to schedule, right? And we can only recycle old posts so many times, before it becomes too much.

Most of us know that we need to post consistently – that we need to provide valuable content to our audience.

I think that, at some point, we all struggle to keep up with this. Maybe some people don’t, but I’m not one of them.

Personally, as someone who struggles with multiple, chronic health issues – both in terms of physical and mental health – I find it hard.

It’s rewarding. It keeps me going. It inspires me to carry on, some days. Yet, still – it isn’t easy. Not that anything worthwhile ever is, or should be.

The part that drives me crazy is that I have this habit of talking myself out of my own ideas, whether it relates to my novel – “work in very slow progress” – or an idea for a blog post.

It’s frustrating, to say the least.

Anyway, I’m working on it.

I do want to be more consistent with blogging, and with working on my “work in slow progress”.  I wrote a post about procrastination, which does seem to tie in with what I’m saying here.

Keep believing. More soon – hopefully…?

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keep-believing

 

 

Procrastination: Why Writers Avoid Actually Writing — September 25, 2017

Procrastination: Why Writers Avoid Actually Writing

procrastinate-writersscariest-moment-Stephen-KingFinally, I’m writing another blog post – so let’s talk about this, right?

Procrastination. It’s a problem, and one with which many of us are familiar.

It’s a major part of why I can’t – or won’t – physically look at my work in progress (novel), for weeks on end, even though I am often experiencing vivid scenes from the story, in my imagination – even though I know that I will beat myself up about my own lack of productivity, until I actually get around to writing again.

It’s one thing to procrastinate when you really don’t want to do something, and external pressures are the driving forces.

When it’s our own dreams that are being shoved aside and sacrificed, it really is not okay.

I don’t believe that people procrastinate, on the whole, on account of laziness.

I think that perfectionism, and a lack of self-confidence, are often the issues.

I do think that giving ourselves multiple options can help. If we make one or two goals the priority, it creates resistance.

Certainly in my own case, once something goes into the “Big Thing” category, in my mind, the sense of panic builds up, and my brain sets to work, at finding every way possible to “get out of it”.

I will do anything but the “Big Thing”.

I will also refuse to give myself credit for anything that I achieve, in any other area, whilst avoiding said “Big Thing”.

And yes, my lack of blog posts is because these have also become a “Big Thing”.

Therefore, I’m writing this now, and it may not feel “good enough” to me, but it is something. These are definitely words, and this is some sort of blog post.

Keep the faith. Believe in yourself, and your dreams – always.

My post about Writers’ Block may be of interest.

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writing-start-somewhere

Abandoned Blogs, Multiple Twitter Accounts, and my Facebook Pages — August 21, 2017

Abandoned Blogs, Multiple Twitter Accounts, and my Facebook Pages

abandoned-blogs-socialOkay, so first things first: the new blog – as in, this one.

By the time that I got the thing set up – and I can barely remember now what the specific technical issues were – well, let’s just say that I lost some of the initial enthusiasm. The result has been – a lack of actual blog posts.

I moved from Blogger to WordPress, but even then, I set up a hosted site, rather than self-hosted.

For now, I’m just running with it. I also know that it isn’t regarded as “professional” not to have your own domain, but I have to be confident that I’m going to stay with this site, before I can justify any sort of expenditure, especially on my very limited budget. November 2018 update: I did upgrade recently, but am still using WordPress.com. It works for me right now. I still feel that there is too much stigma attached to “free websites”, and not owning your own domain. But I actually do now have a “proper domain”, which is awesome.

One question that people sometimes ask is why I have set up so many blogs, over the years – and why I abandon blogs and set up new ones, instead of simply staying with one, and shifting the focus somewhat.

There is no clear answer to that, except that it’s so easy to start again, and I feel refreshed and set free from previous attempts. However, this time, I really do hope to settle in one place. I’m not going to make too many “rules” about what subjects to cover, at least not initially. If I’m posting at all, that will be progress, and I don’t want to create further obstacles for myself.

Right, now the issue of multiple Twitter accounts.

My main and original Twitter account is the one that I currently use. My secondary account, called Paula Writes, was supposed to be a “writing only” page, which I didn’t “spam” with music posts and the like.

The truth is that I try not to spam any of my social media pages with my favourite music videos, or anything else, nowadays. I try, and I think that I mostly succeed – and I still share music videos, in moderation, because it’s a part of who I am. It doesn’t really work for me to divide myself into different “parts” on Twitter, and I forget to update the second account.

That said, some of the followers on there don’t follow my primary page, and to deactivate altogether feels drastic – so we’ll see. November 2018 update: See my note, at the end of this post, about my Twitter accounts. The Paula Writes one no longer exists.

One additional reason why I set up the page was so that I could post to Twitter without posting to my Facebook profile page, but I removed the Twitter to Facebook connection, in any case, last year.

I had to take some time out from Facebook, for various personal reasons, and seriously considered leaving – but ultimately, stayed with it, and am finally making regular posts on my poetry page, Vibrant Darkness, with a little help from scheduling.

I have just launched an author page on Facebook, too – where I hope to focus more upon the fiction side of writing.

 

I hope that this is clear. Thank you to everyone who has supported me in my journey, and who continues to do so. I deeply appreciate it.

Find me on social media.  Also, please note that I did deactivate the “writing only” Twitter page, since publishing this post.  My main account, however, does focus primarily upon writing and related subject areas.  I have a different account, dedicated to music from the 1980s and 1990s.  Twitter is definitely one of the best places to connect with me online.

Update on the Paula Writes blog, as we head towards 2019

 

 

 

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